AeroPress Go Review: Compact Camp Coffee
Lucas has been brewing up his morning coffee using the new AeroPress Go lately, which the makers call “The Better Travel Coffee Press.” Find his highly caffeinated review here, along with lots of photos and a comparison with the original AeroPress, an old standard among #coffeeoutside aficionados…
Originally launched back in 2005, the AeroPress is a manual coffee brewing device that brews one to three cups of espresso or American-style coffee. In terms of taste, it’s known for its notable absence of bitterness and low acidity. The AeroPress is a favorite brewer among coffee lovers, both for use in the kitchen and further afield. And for good reason: it’s hard to argue with an affordable, straightforward, compact, and nearly indestructible brewer that works quickly and produces a consistently delicious cup of coffee.
Of all the various contraptions I’ve seen friends pull out to brew coffee on bikepacking trips over the years, the AeroPress is undoubtedly the one that’s popped up most often. So, I was hardly surprised at the excitement among fellow coffee geeks when, nearly 15 years after the release of the original, the new AeroPress Go was teased online earlier this year. The creators of the AeroPress market it as “The Better Travel Coffee Press,” but is it really an improvement over the original for brewing on the go?
AeroPress Go vs. Original AeroPress
In their own words, inventor Alan Adler and the team at AeroPress designed the new Go version to “provide all the delicious brewing capabilities of the original AeroPress plus a convenient drinking mug that doubles as a carrying case.” I think that’s a fittingly anticlimactic summary of the AeroPress Go. It hasn’t been completely reinvented or seen any revolutionary modifications. Rather, it’s simply an AeroPress that packs into a 15oz mug for travel. It still brews the same cup of coffee, and it’s not meant to replace the original; the two exist alongside each other in the company’s lineup.
In terms of the physical differences between the two, the AeroPress Go is slightly smaller than the original. It makes 20% less coffee when filled all the way up, with a brewing capacity of 8oz to the original’s 10oz. The new brewer itself is about an inch shorter vertically, and the lip around the base has been cut back, making it close to an inch slimmer too, though it should still sit securely atop all but the widest of mugs.
As the AeroPress Go was designed with travel in mind, gone are the filter stand, oversized stirrer and scoop, and funnel that came with the original. Instead, the AeroPress Go comes with a small case that holds about 20 filters, the stirrer folds up, and the scoop has a new shape. I really like the new stirrer and scoop designs, though I’m not convinced the filter case will stand up to much abuse or keep out moisture when kicking around in a damp bag.
If you use an original AeroPress to brew coffee while bikepacking, you’ve likely already modified or stripped down your kit to make it more travel friendly, such as by using a Ti spork for stirring, bringing only as many filters as you need for a given trip, and leaving the funnel at home. However, its overall smaller size does make the AeroPress Go an even more compelling camp coffee brewing option than its predecessor. It’s not a massive difference in size, but it certainly frees up a little bit of extra room in a handlebar or frame bag.
Perhaps the most important consideration for folks who already use an AeroPress to make coffee while riding and are thinking of switching to the AeroPress Go is whether you’re attached to the mug you bring with you into the backcountry. After using the included plastic cup for a few brews, I’ve already gone back to my titanium and enamel mugs. After all, there’s something to be said about enjoying your morning cup of coffee from your favorite mug, and the haptics aren’t quite there for me with the plastic, semi-square cup the Go version packs into. Another minor point to consider is that if you currently nest a mini grinder inside your AeroPress, it will end up protruding a bit more and won’t result in any significant space savings.
AeroPress Go Includes
Out of the box, the AeroPress Go has everything you need to get brewing:
- Brewer (plunger + chamber)
- 15oz mug with lid
- 350 paper filters
- Filter case
- Filter cap
Assembling a Minimalist Brewing Kit
Admittedly, when packing my AeroPress Go for a recent overnighter, the first thing I did was toss the plastic mug aside, along with the lid and stirrer. As noted above, I’ve become quite accustomed to the titanium Vargo mug that I’ve been using for longer than nearly any piece of camping gear I own, and, more importantly, I can boil water in it. I measured out enough beans for a couple of cups and put them into a small bag to grind fresh in the morning. For an even lighter kit, there’s always the option to grind beans in advance and leave the grinder at home (at the cost of a few style points, mind you).
My AeroPress Go Bikepacking Setup:
- Brewer (plunger + chamber)
- Filter cap
- Filter case with a few filters (or metal filter)
- Ti mug
- Ti spork
- Cooking gas
- Coffee beans (pre-measured)
- Coffee grinder
- Water bottle
Brewing with the AeroPress Go
There are countless ways to brew with the AeroPress to suit your unique tastes, so I don’t plan to provide recommended ratios or brewing instructions here, but I do want to make a few quick points. The first is that the AeroPress isn’t well suited to brewing massive cups of coffee—if that’s what you need to get going in the morning—but don’t let its diminutive size fool you. It’s designed to brew small, concentrated cups, and it does so exceptionally well. Personally, I like to make an extra strong brew and then dilute it with some water after, yielding an Americano.
I’m partial to what’s known as the inverted method, in which the AeroPress is used upside down while the grounds are extracting, then flipped right-side up and placed on top of your mug for pressing. The main advantage is that the rubber stopper forms a leak-proof seal at the bottom when used this way, making for a more even immersion and avoiding the loss of precious liquid through the filter as soon as you start pouring hot water over your grounds.
To make coffee with the AeroPress while camping, I boil water in my (single-walled!) titanium mug, pour that over the grounds, then brew right back into the mug. This saves me from needing a separate pot for boiling, or from brewing with water that tastes like the previous night’s dinner when I boil water and eat out of the same pot.
Paper vs. Metal Filters
The AeroPress Go comes with a generous 350 paper filters, and a replacement pack of 350 costs just $5. They’re very reasonably priced when compared to filters for other common brewers, work great, and have a tiny footprint. And it’s entirely possible to reuse your paper filters several times, just by giving them a quick rinse in between batches.
All that said, it’s worth considering picking up a reusable metal filter for your AeroPress or AeroPress Go if you plan to use it regularly. The one pictured above is a fine DISK filter from Able Brewing. At $15, it may be half the cost of an entire AeroPress kit, but it’ll last you a lifetime if properly cared for, and also means you won’t create unnecessary waste with each cup.
Regardless of whether you use a paper or metal filter in your AeroPress, remember to leave no trace by packing your grounds out with you. Luckily, collecting spent grounds couldn’t be handier than with the AeroPress, which produces a puck that can easily be popped out of the brewer. Ease of cleaning is one of the subtle details I love about the AeroPress, compared to brewing with a moka pot, for example, where you’ll sometimes need to bang the funnel against a rock or use a spoon to get the grounds out, both of which can often be messy.
Who Should Buy an AeroPress Go?
If you already own an original AeroPress, I don’t think there’s any need to rush out and buy the AeroPress Go. It won’t change much about your brewing experience. Sure, its slightly smaller size makes it a tad more travel friendly, but the difference is far from drastic. Getting everything to fit into the included plastic mug is a clever bit of engineering, but for me it’s a bit of a miss from a user-experience perspective. However, if the all-in-one nature of the AeroPress Go is appealing to you, you’ll likely be very pleased with it.
Assuming you don’t already own an AeroPress, I’d suggest thinking about whether you see yourself using it at home or while riding more often, and if accessories like the funnel and filter stand seem like they’d come in more handy than a folding stirrer and a mini filter case. Thankfully, you can’t go terribly wrong with either; both versions are fantastic and can be adapted to suit your needs.
As someone who makes a cup or two of coffee at home every morning, and brews coffee in the great outdoors at least a few times a month, I’d keep the AeroPress Go if I had to pick just one.
- Makes excellent coffee with very little fuss.
- Reasonably priced considering it should last for years to come.
- Short brew time so you can get your fix quickly.
- Not the lightest or smallest solution for brewing camp coffee.
- Plastic cup feels somewhat uninspired.
- Small serving size isn’t optimal if you’re brewing for a group.
- Weight: 11.5oz (326 grams) including all parts
- Dimensions (brewer): 4.6″ x 3.6″ x 3.6″ (12 x 9 x 9cm)
- Dimensions (packed in mug): 5.3″ x 3.9″ x 3.9″ (14 x 10 x 10cm)
- Brewing Capacity: 8oz (237ml) coffee
- Price: $31.95
- Place of Manufacture: USA
- Manufacturer’s Website: AeroPress.com
Buy at REI
For whatever reason, it’s been quite a while since I’ve used my original AeroPress, and experimenting with the new AeroPress Go for this review has been a welcome reminder that it makes a damn good cup of coffee. My initial intention was to test it strictly while out bikepacking, but I’ve actually been using it at home every morning since unboxing it, too. It’s a joy to use, and the convenience of the short brew time and easy cleaning shouldn’t be underestimated.
At right around $30, and with a lightweight, compact, ultra-durable construction, both versions of the AeroPress are near-perfect options for making a great cup of coffee. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one to anyone who’s looking to upgrade their morning coffee experience, whether that means brewing right in your kitchen or, even better, wrapped up in your sleeping bag with a sweeping view of someplace beautiful.
Visit AeroPress.com to find additional details or pre-order an AeroPress Go. Note: AeroPress provided an AeroPress Go for this review.